Managing your kayak gear

Fishing from a kayak is first and foremost a sport that should be approached from a minimalist’s perspective. The lighter your kayak and gear is the further and longer you can paddle and fish. However no matter how much we down size and cut out unnecessary gear there still seems to be a lot of gear to deal with in such a limited space.

 You should really consider developing systems to store your gear in your kayak in a manner that is secure, easily accessible and safe. These are some tips that you can use in developing your own system.

If you don’t want to lose it…Lease it. Let’s face it gear costs money and most of us can’t afford to make gear sacrifices to the deep on a regular basis. Leashes can be cheaply made or bought to secure your gear to your kayak. When using leashes make sure that the lanyards are not an entrapment hazard to you.

Electronics and water do not mix… Use of a dry box or dry bag for cameras, cell phones, or any other item that definitely doesn’t need to get wet is a good idea.

Rig to flip… This simply means to tie your gear to your kayak or stow it away in the hull or in a dry bag with the intent that you will probably roll your kayak. If you have gear that will float then it is not necessary to tie it down.

Kayak fishing first aid kit…. You cannot take out everything to treat any illness known to man, however you at a minimum need a bottle of sterile water for cleaning wounds and washing foreign debris out of your eyes, various sizes of bandages, a good set of pliers some antibiotic ointment and any other thing for dealing with cuts and punctures.

Ditch bag… This is simply a dry bag that you will take with you on all your kayak trips. What you keep in the bag will depend on the season or conditions that you are kayaking in. A ditch bag holds the items that you will need to survive if stranded or separated from your kayak. Some of the basic items that you should have in a ditch bag would include- Dry clothes, shelter, flash light pr head lamp, bottled water, some energy bars, twine or rope, Toilet paper in a Ziploc bag, Water proof matches, emergency blanket and first aid kit. You can customize for varying conditions.

Certain gear should be stored on your person or in your PFD… Let’s face it, if you ever get separated from your kayak there are certain things you will need with you. You will want a signal device on your PFD; a whistle works fine for this. Also you will want a decent knife that is easy to access and secured so that if you drop it you will not lose it. A knife is great if you ever get fouled in ropes or lines. Water proof matches or a good wind proof cigarette lighter for building fires is not a bad item to have in your PFD either. When selecting a PFD you might want one that has good options for storage of tools and gear.

A thoughtful and well laid out kayak is efficient and more user friendly. So lay out all your gear then decide what is absolutely necessary and what is not. Where should the items be stored? Do you need quick access to them or can you put them where they can be stored out of the way like inside the hull or in the crate? Get out and adjust your storage as needed. One thing I have discovered is that most of the stuff you think you need you will never actually use.

Be safe and enjoy your time on the water!

Some of the products I use and store in my PFD:

Original Fox 40 Classic Whistle - Red
Stohlquist Squeeze Lock Knife , Yellow, One Size
MIDLAND NT3VP Nautico Waterproof Marine Radio
Ultimate Survival Technologies Floating Lighter, Orange

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